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'Touchdown Jesus' to be replaced

Aug. 17, 2012 at 7:38 PM

MONROE, Ohio, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- An Ohio town is getting ready to welcome a replace for the famed "Touchdown Jesus" statue that burned down two years ago, officials said.

"Touchdown Jesus" -- a waist-up, butter-cream-colored statue of Jesus Christ with arms raised high -- was struck by lightning in 2010 and burned to the ground, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Now, the Solid Rock Church in Monroe is gearing up to replace the statue with a 52-foot full-length Jesus with arms outstretched that sculpture Tom Tsuchiya has nicknamed "Hug Me Jesus."

"It's 'Hug Me Jesus,'" Tsuchiya said Thursday. "Some blogger called it that, and I loved it. That's what it's all about -- a let's-all-be-friends message. Love one another."

The new statue -- which will be concrete-colored and has been designed to withstand extreme winds and lightning -- is set to be installed in September.

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